Teachers do not teach for the money; they teach for the love of learning and for making a difference in the life of a child. When one is recognized for excellence, it is an added bonus and a pleasant surprise. Such is the case with Marcella Upshur-Dudley, a science teacher at New Town High School. She was one of 51 educators nationwide to receive an Endeavor Fellowship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This fellowship will allow her to work on earning a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) certificate and, in turn, her students will benefit when she implements what she has learned.

          Upshur-Dudley encourages her 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade chemistry students to explore and focus on finding answers of their own, rather than pursuing just a right or wrong answer. In her 12 years of teaching, this technique has served her well. New Town Principal Samuel Mustipher credits her as being an outstanding educator with a passion for students and the field of science. Congratulations to her on this award, and her dedication to teaching.

          An entire school was awarded recently with the honor of being named a 2012 Maryland Blue Ribbon School. Woodholme Elementary on Mt. Wilson Lane was among six schools to earn that designation. This program recognizes schools that meet the standards developed by the Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education. Woodholme is one of the newer schools opened in Baltimore County in 2005.

          The award was presented by interim State Superintendent Dr. Bernard J. Sadusky to Principal Maralee Clark, and a school-wide assembly found students and staff sporting blue ribbons. A Maryland Blue Ribbon flag was presented to the school, as well as a cash award of $2,000 and an interactive SmartBoard. A pizza party completed the festivities.


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          Principal Clark is no stranger to the field of education. For many years she taught fourth-grade at Owings Mills Elementary, and my own daughter was lucky enough to be in her class. Clark showed an enthusiasm for learning that was contagious and, as a result, she brought out the best in all her students. Children who left her class in June were well-prepared for the fifth grade. Clark also headed the Title I program at Owings Mills and was tireless in her work, making sure that students received necessary services and succeeded in school. It is no surprise that she is now the principal of a very successful school where children love to learn and teachers love to teach! Congratulations to Woodholme on this very prestigious honor.

          Have you ever wanted to open your home to a young person and show them the American way of life? An opportunity opens up this summer as foreign exchange students will be coming from Spain and are in desperate need of host families. The group arrives on June 26 and will visit until July 24. Our community will host 15 students who will visit local attractions, as well as attending classes.

          All that is required is a place to sleep, transportation to and from Franklin High, some meals, and a warm and caring environment. Michele Heller, who is coordinating the program, has hosted for over 12 years and would be thrilled to talk to you about being a host family. Just imagine the life-learning experiences that are possible for you and the student as well. Please call 410-404-7394 or email micheleheller5@gmail.com for further information.

          The Owings Mills Recreation Council welcomes a new Recreation Community Supervisor II on March 1. Steven Gravelle moves into his office at New Town High and prepares to work with the schools and the Rec Council to facilitate the programs, institute new ones, and guide volunteers. An additional new job he will undertake is supervising the Northwest Regional Park off Lyons Mill Road.  He is no stranger to this line of work as he has worked for many years with the Reisterstown Recreation Council, and they are sad to see him go. Congratulations to Steve in his new assignment and welcome to the Owings Mills community.

          March is birthday month so here goes: First up is Sean Paul Way on March 6 when he turns 12 years old. Here's hoping he gets that special Power Ranger he has been waiting for! Next up is Marc Bognanni who celebrates on March 7. He coaches various sports at Franklin High, and will turn 35 years of age. All that athletic coaching will keep him young! Councilwoman Vicki Almond will celebrate her birthday on March 7 and hopefully will find time to have some cake and ice cream with her grandchildren.  Casey Ann Strakes turns 27 on March 15 and is sent bouquets of birthday wishes.  Ashley Gabriella Jimenez will be 12 years old on March 28 and is wished the happiest of birthdays by all of her friends and family.

         Congratulations are sent to Jon Steven and Megan Homer Cardin on the birth of their baby daughter Dorothy Maya, who debuted on Feb. 8, 2012. She weighed a petite 4.9 pounds. and was 18.5 in. long. Although an early surprise, she is healthy and happy and best wishes are sent to this new family of three. Grandparents Eileen and Bruce Homer and Howard and Judy Cardin must be over the moon!

A milestone will be reached on March 28 when Jessica Ann Freeman turns 21.. She is a beautiful young woman, and has been since the day she was born. I know this because she is my niece and goddaughter, and I wish her the best day ever! Last but not least is Patti Dennis who celebrates her 45th special day on March 29; may she be showered with gifts, flowers, and special memories.

          Parents, can you believe that spring break will soon be upon us? Ten whole days of having your children home from school. Plan ahead because schools will close three hours early on March 30 and reopen on April 10.

          Wishing everyone a blessed Easter season and Passover, and don't forget that Daylight Saving Time begins on March 11.